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Outdoor (Yard Living) Pitbull Doesn’t Like Sidewalks

Pitbulls and Most Other Breeds Don't "Like" Living In A Yard

Their Owners Are Typically Confusing 'Liking' With "Accustomed Or More Used To"

Dogs hot sidewalksBreed: Pitbull

Gender: Spayed Female (FS)

Current Age: 6 months

Age When Purchased: 1 Day

My dog is an outside dog and she loves being outside, but for some reason, she will not go near the concrete, sidewalks, roads, nothing, and it’s difficult for me to walk her. Is there anything I can do to help? She literally refuses to move if I put her near or on the sidewalk and if I sit near her she will immediately go under my legs.

Steven in Florida

"My Dog Likes/Loves Being Outside In The Yard"

Almost Always A Myth

Hi Steven,

I know it wasn’t your question, but for what it’s worth, leaving a pit bull or most any other breed, outside unsupervised, is unwise.

Firstly, of course, Bella or any other dog doesn’t like living outside. Given an equal early life choice between living isolated outside vs. living with her pack inside, why would a highly social species like the domesticated dog and especially the intelligent and often overly sensitive pit-bull breed ‘like’ isolated living?

Secondly, even if she did ‘like’ living in a yard, that doesn’t mean it’s good for her. I like chocolate cake and a lot of other things that require moderation; otherwise, like or not, they quickly become bad for me, and that is nearly 100% the case with dogs left to live in the yard. It’s bad for them. It would be more accurate to say that because it’s pretty much all she knows, she prefers the familiar to the unfamiliar.

It is far more likely that Bella has grown accustomed to being outside as her ‘norm; that’s where she’s been forced to spend most of her time. Much the same as someone that has spent more time incarcerated than free. The institution is more familiar, and therefore while not necessarily comfortable, it’s more comfortable because that’s what they know. Perhaps, that qualifies as a ‘like’, but it doesn’t mean it’s right or good.

The example doesn’t have to be as dramatic as enforced incarceration and freedom. How many ‘free’ people stay in a miserable marriage, or a crappy job? Just because they stick with or keep returning, doesn’t mean it’s good for them or that they like it. At least it might be said they are making their own decisions. Bella is not.

I have found that in the majority of cases where I’ve been told that a dog is outside because he or she “likes” it, it’s actually that their owner “likes it better,” because for whatever reason they did not teach the dog how to behave indoors, in a civilized manner with training and structure. The dog became a headache, so, “Out, in the yard with you.”

Yard Dogs Are Sometimes Victims Of The Amateur Dog Training World

I’m not necessarily blaming dog owners across the board. What with the crazy number of amateur dog trainers in North America with their pseudo-science ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free/Never Say No/R+…’, treat, treat, treat training – that was intended for teaching tricks (agility, Orcas in an aquarium), far more-so than life skills; many people try, but end up failing to teach their companion dogs how to be companionable. Amateur dog training sends a lot of dogs to the yard, back to the breeder, to the rescue, abandoned or pretty much a life-style more closely related to  house-arrest than accompanying their owners as frequently as possible.

Almost every North American dog trainer fails to give companion dog owners the correct tools. If your trainer, based their program on treats in a controlled setting and promised you that you could eventually ‘wean’ the dog away did not, you had an amateur dog trainer.

Any idiot can get a dog to sit for a treat. The police refer to that technique as luring. Training is when the child resists the most difficult of temptations. If they do, they were taught by a loving authority to do so.

Yards, Especially In Busy Urban Environments Trigger Ancient Instincts (Prey and Territory)Never Intended For This Level Of Daily Unsupervised/Unguided Stimulation That Occurs In A City

Dogs that are raised by the “yard” as opposed to a loving authority figure are exponentially higher to become territorial and/or prey aggressive between 18 months and three years of age as without a loving authority figure to guide them, and they are driven solely by their hormones and genetics.

This is exponentially more likely in an urban vs. a rural environment and can be the kiss of death when the genetics are those of a Pit bull an otherwise (assuming attention was paid to genetic stability physically and mentally, proper temperament imprinting was provided by the breeder and owner between 3 and 12 weeks of age, and the owner provided the correct training and supervision most thoroughly up until young adulthood (18 months – 2 years of age) and appropriately throughout the rest of the dog’s life) fantastic dog.

Two Reasons A Dog Might Fear The Sidewalk

As to the sidewalk, there may be a variety of reasons. One is that sometimes when a puppy is exposed to a sidewalk, it’s a hot day, and the pads of their feet provide little to no protection from the heat, and they get burnt. As a rule of thumb, puppy or not, if you can’t hold the palm of your hand pressed to the concrete and asphalt for a 5-second count, it’s too hot for the dog.

A more common reason though is the breeder and owner didn’t expose the puppy between 3 and 12 weeks of age, its critical imprint period to varied flooring both indoors or out, and many dogs will later resist the unfamiliar. I’ve seen this backfire with poorly imprinted dogs selected for real-life work. In one instance, a police department after spending tens of thousands of dollars and training time learned that their new force asset would not search a warehouse with metal grating.

How you would address this depends on what the cause is and to a certain extent whether she sees you as her loving authority figure or the guy that lives sort of next door. One would have more influence than the other. 

I hope this was of some help.

John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
Embracing Science and Common Sense

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